China-based biotech to build manufacturing plant in Suzhou

With $97 million in angel investments and $14 million in milestone payments in hand, plus a pipeline of immuno-oncology drug candidates, China-based BeiGene believes it is time to look toward manufacturing.

The clinical stage drug developer said last week it intends to build a 9,000-square-meter (96,875 square-foot) manufacturing facility that can handle clinical supplies but be large enough for commercial production. It said it will build the new facility at BioBAY in the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) in Suzhou, China, about an hour from Shanghai. It expects the facility to be completed by 2017.

BeiGene CEO John Oyler

"This new manufacturing facility is a key component to our strategic growth to become an integrated biopharma company and to accelerate and expand our development programs," BeiGene CEO John Oyler said in a statement. Wendy Yan, head of regulatory affairs for the company, said that the plant will be built to meet U.S., E.U. and China's regulatory requirements.

The company has out-licensed to Merck Serono two of its drug candidates and earned milestone payments of $5 million and $9 million from the drugmaker. The German company is making a big play in China. In 2013, it started work on a €80 million ($107.67 million) plant in Shanghai to produce the diabetes drugs Glucophage, Concor and Euthyrox as well as a new €40 million ($55 million) plant in Reinbek near Hamburg to make allergy meds from the China market.

- here's the BeiGene release (PDF)